VOLLEYBALL SET FOR FRIDAY'S NCAA TOURNAMENT MATCH WITH MINNESOTA
The Sacramento State volleyball squad (28-7) will compete in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight year and 10th time in the last 11 years when it takes on Minnesota (18-12) in the first round on Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. inside Maples Pavilion on Stanford’s campus. Friday will mark the fifth time in the last six years that Sacramento State will play its first round NCAA Tournament matchup inside Maples Pavilion (the Hornets faced Stanford on three of those occasions). It also marks just the second time in the team’s 11 NCAA Div. I Tournament appearances the Hornets will not have to face a nationally ranked team in the first round - other came in a win over Houston in 1998.
Should the Hornets defeat Minnesota on Friday, the team would play its second-round match on Saturday, Dec. 1 against either No. 1 seed Stanford or Santa Clara at 8 p.m. All matches will take place at Maples Pavilion.
Sacramento State and Minnesota will be facing each other for just the third time in the teams’ histories. The Gophers own a 2-0 lead in the series, which include three-game sweeps in both 1992 and 1999. In fact, the 1999 matchup occurred in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Los Angles where Minnesota won, 15-9, 15-10, 15-10.
The Hornets received an automatic berth into the NCAA’s postseason event after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the sixth straight season last week with three-game sweeps of Eastern Washington (semifinals) and Portland State (championship). Sacramento State has now won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament titles each of the last 11 years. That includes nine Big Sky Tournament championships (1997-98, 2000, 2002-07) and eight Big Sky regular season titles (1997-01, 2005-07). The Hornets joined the Big Sky in 1996.
Sacramento State enters the 64-team field with a 28-7 overall record, the 13th straight season the program has accumulated at least 20 victories. The Hornets have won six of their last seven matches heading into the tournament and 20 of the team’s 28 victories came via three-game sweeps. Sacramento State has faced seven teams which reached this season’s NCAA Tournament, and posted a 5-2 record against those teams. That included victories over Santa Clara, Xavier, No. 16 seed Cal Poly, Alabama and Illinois State.
Bay Bound Again
The Hornets have not left the Bay Area for the first round of the NCAA Tournament since 1999 when the team played in Los Angeles. Since that time, Sacramento State has played its first-round matches in San Jose (2000), Stanford (2002-03, 2005-07) and Berkeley (2004). Consequently, the team has not won a first-round NCAA Tournament match since the 1998 season when the Hornets knocked off Houston (3-0) in the first round in Stockton, Calif. Sacramento State, which won an AIAW Div. III national championship in 1980 and an NCAA Div. II national championship in 1981, has compiled a 1-9 all-time record in NCAA Div. I Tournament play. The Hornets made the move to the Div. I ranks in 1991.
Sacramento State’s match on Friday, and Saturday if the team wins Friday night, will be broadcast live via www.hornetsports.com. Brian Berger will call Friday night’s match against Minnesota, and J.D. Fox will call Saturday night’s match should the Hornets advance to the second round.
In addition, Stanford is providing live webcasts for each of the three matches (two on Friday, one on Saturday) for free at www.gostanford.com or on www.ncaasports.com. General admission tickets are $8 for a single session and $14 for an all-session pass, with discounted tickets available for youth, seniors and students.
Three Hornets received all-Big Sky Conference honors this season, highlighted by senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt earning league MVP honors for the second time in three years. Both Haupt and senior outside hitter Missie Stidham were named to the first team while Stidham took home Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors after transferring prior to the season from Saint Mary’s. Junior setter Rose Burke was named to the second team. In addition, head coach Debby Colberg was named the league’s coach of the year for the eighth time in the last 11 years.
Haupt, who is one of five Sacramento State players to receive MVP honors since the team joined the league in 1996, became the first player in the Big Sky to earn two MVP awards since Eastern Washington’s Kim Exner in 1997-98. Stidham becomes just the second player in Sacramento State history to receive the Big Sky’s Newcomer of the Year award. Despite only six players being named first team all-Big Sky each season, Sacramento State players have now received at least two first team awards five straight years.
Minnesota (18-12) is currently unranked, but spent the first eight weeks of the season ranked among the top 13 teams in the nation. The Golden Gophers finished 11-9 and tied for third place in the Big 10 Conference. Minnesota has a ton of size as the team starts two outside hitters and two middle hitters that each stand at least 6-1. That includes a 6-4 outside hitter in Kyla Roehrig.
Minnesota will be making its ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and has the 13th longest active string of appearances. The Gophers have never lost a first-round match in 12 NCAA Tournament first round appearances. That includes six regional appearances over the last eight years, and Final Four appearances in 2003 and 2004. The Gophers lost to Stanford in the 2004 national championship match.
Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert has 813 career victories in 32 seasons as a women’s collegiate head coach and currently ranks fifth among active Div. I coaches (one spot behind Debby Colberg) in career victories.
At The NCAA Tournament
This season will mark the Hornets’ 10th NCAA Tournament appearance since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991. The Hornets are 1-9 all-time at the postseason event, but the team’s first-round competition has been borderline ridiculous. In fact, the only time the Hornets faced an unranked opponent in the first round was Houston in 1998, a team the Hornets swept in three games. This year will mark just the second time the Hornets will not face a nationally ranked team in the first round of the Big Dance.
In 1997, the Hornets fell to 17th-ranked Pacific; 1998 - Hornets beat Houston before falling to #9 Pacific in the second round; 1999 - Hornets lost to #22 Minnesota; 2000 - Hornets fell to #4 Santa Clara; 2002 - Hornets fell to #2 Stanford; 2003 - Hornets fell to #5 Stanford; 2004 - Hornets fell to #14 Saint Mary’s; 2005 - Hornets fell to #15 Santa Clara; 2006 - Hornets fell to #2 Stanford.
Head Coach Debby Colberg
After nearly 32 years at Sacramento State which include 827 victories, two national titles, 20 NCAA Tournament appearances, 18 conference championships and 16 coach of the year awards, head coach Debby Colberg announced in August that the 2007 season will mark the end of her illustrious career. Currently fourth among active Div. I coaches in total victories (827-291, .740 winning percentage), Colberg has coached just two losing squads during her 32-year tenure and her teams have averaged 25.8 wins per season during that span. She was just named Big Sky Coach of the Year for the eighth time in the last 11 years, and will be inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame on Dec. 13 at the Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon during the Final Four in Sacramento.
The coach with the best career winning percentage in any sport at Sacramento State, Colberg is currently in her 17th season as a Division I coach. The long coaching sojourn has taken Colberg through the ranks, from AIAW play (1976-80), through Division II (1981-90) and currently Division I (1991-pres.). She has led Sacramento State to winning seasons in 16 of the 17 Division I years, and has compiled a 407-173 (.702) record over that span. That includes five straight and 10 NCAA Div. I Tournament appearances in the last 11 years (1997-00, 2002-07). The Hornets have now rattled off 13 consecutive 20-win seasons and 26 overall seasons with at least 20 victories.
The recipient of 16 coach of the year awards (one national, four regional and 11 conference), Colberg also had the added responsibility of serving as Sacramento State’s Athletics Director, a position she held from February of 1999 until June of 2002.
Volta To Take Over Head Coaching Duties in 2008
Athletics director Terry Wanless announced on Oct. 4 that associate head coach Ruben Volta will take over the Sacramento State head coaching duties next season. Volta is in his eighth season on Colberg’s coaching staff, and fifth as the team’s top assistant. A graduate of Sacramento State and a 1995 All-American for the Hornet men’s volleyball team, Volta has 14 years of coaching experience under his belt.